A Letter from President Minnis

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dear Friends of the College:

I hope this email finds you well. We recently finished a very successful year at Benedictine College. The largest full-time undergraduate enrollment and the largest freshman class in our history, welcomed the Papal Nuncio to the United States (Archbishop Pietro Sambi) and the first sitting Cardinal to ever visit campus (Cardinal Christoph Schönborn). We also presented Honorary Degrees to long-time supporters, Jim and Zibbie Ferrell. We introduced an engineering program and received approval for a nursing program that will begin in the fall. We are building a set of six row houses across the street from campus that will house 24 seniors. We are also renovating two buildings that will house 40 students as well as the nursing program, and the psychology, sociology and Journalism departments. The two buildings we are renovating were made possible through the second largest one-time gift in our history, a $3.3m donation by the Atchison Hospital of their buildings and land located across the street from campus. (They were able to do this because they built a new hospital south of town). Our soccer teams played on field turf for the first time this year. And our students spent prayerful time at Mary’s Grotto which was dedicated on September 8, 2009. We have adopted the motto: Forward, Always Forward—and that is the direction we will continue to take.

We are excited about the progress of the Investing in Excellence campaign. This $50m campaign is in the fourth of five years. To date, generous donors have supported the campaign in the amount of over $48m! One of the key components of this campaign is a new Academic Center that will be located on the top of the hill of campus overlooking the Missouri River, sitting between St. Benedict Hall (the Administration building) and Westerman Hall (the science building). This will house the departments of Business, Education, Theology and Philosophy. We have raised over $13.4m towards this building, which leaves $4.5m to complete the fundraising for the Academic Center. In February, the Board of Directors voted to move forward to begin building this building. We wanted to take advantage of the historically low construction costs. Therefore on June 11 at 4:00pm, on campus, we will break ground for the new Academic Center. It will be the first academic building built since the 1960’s. As we’ve been saying: it’s historic; it’s needed; and it isn’t paid for. Thank you for your support on this project and if you haven’t jumped on board, please contact me so you can be a part of the success at Benedictine College.

Last Friday, I was honored to read Archbishop Joseph Naumann’s column in The Leaven. Whenever a respected Archbishop like ours writes that a student at Benedictine College receives a more complete education than a student at Harvard; and that he encourages young people to go to Benedictine College, then it is incumbent on the President to tell as many people as he can about this endorsement. Please feel free to forward this article to any one you wish.

Thank you again for all your help this past year. Please plan to visit whenever you can, and keep Benedictine College in your prayers. God bless.

Stephen D. Minnis
Benedictine College